The exciting move of the plastics industry towards increased application of digital technology is one of the highlights of the 27th Fakuma international trade fair for plastics processing in Friedrichshafen, scheduled from the 12–16 October 2021. In addition to ongoing developments in the digital transformation of the plastics processing industry, this exceptional event will also focus on the changeover from a linear to a circular economy.
Exhibitors are eager to finally present their innovations live and so users and customers are looking forward to the physical presentation of new products and technological solutions, according to the show’s organisers. As a widely recognised leading technical event in the fields of injection moulding, extrusion technology, thermoforming and 3D printing, Fakuma will demonstrate that a great deal has been achieved in terms of machine and product development, as well as process improvements.
German plastics processors are facing a variety of challenges resulting from changes taking place at various levels: increasing digitalisation and automation are providing opportunities for improving processes, as well as for increasing systems availability, efficiency and productivity. At the same time, the sector is intensively engaged in the transformation from a linear to a circular economy. Companies in the plastics industry are highly committed to assuming responsibility for their products, as well as for products manufactured on their machines and systems. And thus working on one’s own future is also accompanied by a commitment to the future viability of generations yet to come. Plastics recycling and the circular economy are key topics all over the world, both in the industry itself and amongst users and the general public. Here are some of the products that are on exhibits.
KOCH-TECHNIK: auxiliary equipment
KOCH-TECHNIK (www.koch-technik.com) is set to showcase its broad product portfolio in the areas of mixing, dosing, conveying and drying, as well as a variety of sustainable solutions for applications in the automotive, consumer goods, health care and several others industries. The company also welcomes visitors to a larger exhibition booth at the well-known stand 3213 in hall A3. On exhibit is the new EKO-N dry air dryer, already presented in its original version at K 2019 exhibition, which will debut at this year’s Fakuma. The dryer has been developed further with respect to energy efficiency. Together with the patented KOCH-ÖKO energy system control, the new dryers can save up to 50% energy.
Another highlight is the KKT mobile granulate dryers, which will be presented with a new touch control. The new colour displays are larger than before and grant further advantages such as the simple, intuitive operation of the control unit, the integrated central conveying system - which is Industry 4.0-compatible as a result of the OPC UA communication standard - and the option of full integration into the KOCH visualisation.
Another innovation is the MCGT control unit for the gravimetric mixers, Graviko. Together with the control units of the volumetric pre-mixers and the mobile KKT dryers, the new control units of Koch-Technik present themselves in a uniform and modern appearance. Thanks to the OPC-UA communication interface, the complete and easy integration of the Gravikos into the client´s production processes is possible. The clear illustration and easy entry of process parameters on the touch-panel is one of many advantages. The control unit calculates the necessary process parameters automatically and guarantees a continuous and consistent dosing.
Lindner: Recycling systems
Besides digitalisation and automation, the circular economy is a key topic in the plastics processing industry. Changing from a linear to a circular economy, the quality of the recycled material plays an increasingly important role. Lindner (www.lindner.com), one of the leading manufacturers of shredders, system solutions and industrial washing systems for plastics recycling, is taking on this challenge and shows off its new hot-wash system for recovering PET (polyethylene terephthalate) at Fakuma 2021, booth A6-6108.
Equipped with the new hot-wash tower and the latest Lindner step dryer, the company is setting new standards in PET recycling. When shredding the plastic to be recovered, the focus of Lindner’s Micromat series is firmly on quality, reliability, robustness and experience. The circular economy remains a hot topic. Sustainability, resource conservation and the reduction of the ecological footprint take centre stage and underline the necessity of recycling all kinds of plastics. In addition to efficiency and cost-effectiveness, the main challenge is to use a reliably functioning system that allows for a high degree of flake purity and therefore high-quality recyclate. The Micromat, Lindner Recyclingtech’s original powerhouse, shreds waste materials reliably and efficiently. The signature feature of the Micromat series is its Mono Fix rotor, which guarantees universal applicability by enabling different or mixed rotor configurations. Various pointed or flat knives and special counter knives can be fitted to one and the same rotor as required depending on the input material. As a result, this Mono Fix technology ensures a high and consistent throughput with a wide range of materials that are often classified as difficult.
The latest product from Lindner's subsidiary Washtech is the hot-wash system with the PET hot-wash tower and Lindner’s step dryer, which were developed specifically for the PET sector. The innovative stainless steel step dryer dries the material particularly gently by slowly adjusting the rotation speed in five steps. This results in less friction and a lower fines content. The compact step dryer delivers throughputs of 1,000 – 3,000 kilograms per hour at a drive power of 30 kW. Thanks to the new hot-wash, the last remaining contaminants such as adhesives, labels and prints are completely removed from PET bottles. The PET hot-wash tower can be operated with or without caustic solution and works with a separate water circuit. Gentle cleaning and defined dwell times guarantee high quality output materials, which are the perfect basis for producing food grade rPET.
SIKORA: Measuring and control technologies
SIKORA (www.sikora.net) presents its innovative measuring and control technologies for the tube, hose and pipe industry as well as online and offline systems for the inspection, sorting and analysis of plastic pellets at its booth A6-6110. In the area of online inspection and sorting of plastic pellets SIKORA presents the PURITY SCANNER ADVANCED. The system combines in a unique way an X-ray with up to three optical cameras. Thus, even the smallest metal inclusions in the raw material from a size down to 50 µm can be detected. In addition, the optical cameras detect black specks and burns on the pellet surface. Defective pellets are separated immediately after detection by means of compressed air.
At the Fakuma, SIKORA offers customers free live material tests with the PURITY CONCEPT V. The system is typically used for offline laboratory testing and random sample inspection. Interested customers are invited to bring small pellet samples (approx. 100 g) to the SIKORA booth to have them tested. The automated light table automatically inspects the test material placed on a sample tray within a few seconds by using a color camera and evaluates the image recordings. The system detects black specks and color deviations down to a size of 50 µm and highlights contamination in color on the monitor image and in parallel via a projector on the sample carrier. A clear assignment of the contamination and a follow-up control are thus possible at any time.
For a 100 percent quality control during pipe extrusion SIKORA presents the CENTERWAVE 6000, which is based on millimeter wave technology. The device precisely measures the diameter, ovality, wall thickness, inner profile as well as sagging of the pipe. The measuring method does not require any coupling media or calibration and is free from influences such as temperature or the plastic material. Another highlight at the SIKORA booth is the X-RAY 6000 PRO. The X-ray based system measures the wall thickness, eccentricity, inner and outer diameter and ovality of tubes and hoses from 0.65 mm diameter. The thickness of up to three different material layers is measured. Automatic control of the line speed or extruder rpm ensures maximum productivity.
SIKORA's presentation at Fakuma is rounded off by reliable diameter measuring systems of the LASER Series 2000 and 6000. The 2-axis or 3-axis gauge heads are predestined for diameter measurement of transparent as well as non-transparent tubes and hoses.
DREYPLAS: UHMWPE applications
Plastics distributor DREYPLAS (www.dreyplas.com) highlights application possibilities for the ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) LUBMER™ from Mitsui Chemicals. Compared with conventional sintered semi-finished products, this offers possibilities for considerable cost savings in the production of moulded parts and profiles that also boast excellent surface slip properties. This advantage comes from the thermoplastic processability by injection moulding and extrusion. In this way, it is no problem with Lubmer to produce parts with narrow tolerances and very low depths of roughness. As a result, the amount of time required is significantly reduced, and the large quantities of costly, non-reusable production scrap from the machining of semi-finished products are no longer produced. In current sampling trials at customers, Lubmer has also proved that the product is suitable for 3D printing.
The difference between the various UHMWPE types lies in the length of the molecule chains. With conventional types, they are so long that they cannot be melted but have to be sintered into the semi-finished products. Compared with that, the molecular weight of the Lubmer types supplied in granule form is reduced by just enough for processing to be possible on conventional injection moulding machines and extruders. As a result, it provides greater design freedom than with the machining of semi-finished products and, furthermore, the production scrap – which is less anyway – can be melted again and returned to the process in an environmentally friendly manner.
Despite the reduced molecular weight, Lubmer offers, with smooth friction partners such as steel, equally good tribological properties as components made of a sintered semi-finished product. This and its recyclability in the polyolefin stream make it in many applications a sustainable alternative to engineering plastics such PPS, POM, PA or PBT. Lubmer can be used in applications at long-term temperatures down to –200°C, and its chemical resistance, heat resistance and (low-temperature) impact strength are the same as those of UHMWPE semi-finished products. It complies with all the REACH regulations and is approved to FDA and EU10/2011 for food-contact applications.
Alongside the basic types, namely Lubmer L3000 with the highest flowability, L4000, and L5000, which is also suitable for extrusion and has the highest abrasion resistance, DREYPLAS also markets the higher temperature-resistant Alloy LS4140, which, thanks to its polyamide modification, combines elevated temperature resistance with good flow properties. Lubmer can be used both with hot runner systems and with traditional tunnel gates. The light and opaque intrinsic colour facilitates the use of colour masterbatches. Other functional additives can also be incorporated via the conventional metering systems. Lubmer offers very good sound insulation and better electrical insulation properties than most other polyolefins. It is suitable, for example, for low-noise cogwheels and also for applications that specify low-temperature resistance and high chemical resistance.
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